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DATE News (chronologically)
09/03/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari set to struggle at Monza
  • Renault CEO plays down need for Alonso return
  • India GP plans still on track - Ecclestone
  • Vettel to be given time to develop - Tost
  • No reserve driver for BMW in Japan

Ferrari set to struggle at Monza
(GMM) Based on the outcome of the four-day test at Monza last week, McLaren look set to dominate the Italian grand prix this week on Ferrari's home soil.

The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reports that the Maranello based team was surprised that McLaren fielded clearly the quickest car on the high speed layout.

Ferrari reportedly rolled out a new aerodynamic package and a special new Shell oil at the circuit designed to boost horsepower, but on all four days the revised F2007 failed to match the superior pace of its silver-colored rival.

"Ron Dennis mentioned in passing in Istanbul that he was really looking forward to Monza. Now it is clear why!" observed former F1 driver Christian Danner.

At some points between Tuesday and Friday last week, even F1's third force BMW-Sauber seemed to be matching or beating Ferrari for pace.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda, meanwhile, reckons there is no possibility that Ferrari was sandbagging during the Monza test.

"No, I think everything can be taken as read," said the Austrian legend. "Ferrari were not playing around on full fuel tanks or anything."

Renault CEO plays down need for Alonso return
(GMM) The CEO of French carmaker Renault has played down expectations that Fernando Alonso could return to the marque's formula one team in 2008.

Team boss Flavio Briatore admitted last week that, after achieving back to back titles together in 2005 and 2006, Renault would "love" to have the Spaniard back in 2008 following a single season with arch rivals McLaren.

Renault CEO and president Carlos Ghosn insists, however, that success in grand prix racing can never depend on a single team member.

"Success in formula one is always the work of a team," he told reporters in Austria during the launch of a new Renault road car, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca.

"You need a perfect package; chassis, engine, tires, team, and obviously the driver as well.

"But even the best driver cannot be successful without a perfect team, and vice versa," Ghosn, who is Brazilian, said.

With Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel of the R27, Enstone based Renault this year lies just fourth in the constructors' championship standings.

Ghosn said he is confident that the team will return to the top in 2008.

"But it does not depend on a single person," he continued. "My only demand is that we can compete at the highest level."

India GP plans still on track - Ecclestone
(GMM) Despite recent rumors and reports to the contrary, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone says plans for a grand prix in India are still on track.

With neither definite funding nor a circuit or street layout for a 2009 race in Delhi yet in place, it was reported recently that Ecclestone had given the Indian Olympic Association until only the end of September to get the wheels in motion.

But in an Indian television interview with CNBC-TV18, 76-year-old Bernie says: "I hope within the next two years we will be racing in India."

He played down views that India, although with a booming economy, is not yet well enough equipped in terms of infrastructure to host the world's highest category of motor racing.

"India is the same as everywhere else in the world," the Briton added, estimating the cost of a circuit at $150m and the additional annual cost at $60m.

Ecclestone added: "We race all over the world, so why not in India?"

Also contrary to recent suggestions, Ecclestone insisted that Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya - who has bought the Spyker team - is still a key element of a future Indian grand prix.

"He is the guy to whom we have said to try and get it done for us," Bernie revealed.

"We relied on him and hope he does so. We are looking forward and hoping that the Olympic Committee will help us as well."

It also emerges in the Indian press that F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke on Monday visited three potential circuit sites in Delhi.

Vettel to be given time to develop - Tost
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel is at the beginning of a long learning curve as a grand prix driver.

That is the insistence of his Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost, after the 20-year-old German rookie struggled to surpass the pace of his experienced teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi since joining the team in Hungary.

At 19 years and 53 days old, Vettel became the youngest ever driver to participate in an official F1 session last year in Turkey following the promotion of Robert Kubica to the BMW-Sauber race seat.

He then made his race debut for BMW at Indianapolis this year, following Kubica's Montreal crash, and - in yet another impromptu development - stepped up to the full time STR seat when Liuzzi's former teammate Scott Speed was dumped.

"He came into formula one and started dealing with all of its issues much too early," Tost told Motorsport Aktuell, explaining that Vettel's US GP debut subsequently raised expectations too much.

Tost, after contracting Vettel also for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, explained: "With us he can learn about being a formula one driver in peace."

He said Vettel will be given time to develop.

Tost explained: "We are still a backmarker team so the expectations are not too high. Only at the end of 2008 will he be ready to be a top driver for a top team."

No reserve driver for BMW in Japan
(GMM) BMW-Sauber will make do without a reserve driver for the Japanese grand prix later this month.

F1's inaugural Fuji race late in September clashes with the season finale of the feeder series GP2's championship finale at Valencia.

Timo Glock, recently promoted by BMW to the reserve role due to predecessor Sebastian Vettel's step up to Toro Rosso, currently leads the GP2 standings and in Valencia could be bidding to follow Lewis Hamilton as 2007 champion.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport said Glock's Japanese release had been confirmed by BMW on Saturday at a team event at the Olympic Park in Munich.

"I am grateful that the team has given me this opportunity," 24-year-old Glock said there. "Naturally I want to wrap up this championship."

Should either Nick Heidfeld or Robert Kubica need replacing at Fuji, however, BMW will attempt to fly Glock out to Japan from Europe in time for qualifying and the race.

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